Which is more than can be said for Bozo, and indeed a significant number of his cabinet colleagues. Given that Brexit was supposed to have brought so many benefits, one might have expected them to be there, touring the studios and promoting the good news. The thought then enters that there may not be any good news, the electorate might just be in the process of finding out, the Tories know it, and are keeping a very low profile indeed.
It is not just the Guardian warning today “UK households warned of ‘year of the squeeze’ as cost of living soars … Families face £1,200 hit as wages fall and bills rise, says thinktank”. The increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph has warned “Cost of living to jump by £1,200 in April”. The warning has come from the Resolution Foundation.
Even the Daily Brexit, still called the Express, has a front page teaser warning “Families £1,200 worse off in ‘year of the squeeze’”. That wasn’t how the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog saw it in October: “The problem with this apocalyptic, food banks are growing, everything is terrible projection by Labour figures on Twitter is that it doesn't chime with most voters experience. Unemployment is low, wages are rising, jobs are plentiful for those that want to work”. But now has come reality.
As Jonathan Portes has pointed out this morning, “Real wages are now falling. As I've been pointing out since June, the idea of a post-pandemic, post-Brexit wage spike was mostly a mixture of ideology, selective use of evidence, and wishful thinking”.
There was more. Crediting the Resolution Foundation and its Labour Market Outlook, he continued “I produce a regular version of a similar chart (in levels not changes) using the (slightly more up to date) HMRC data. As with the RF chart, it shows real wages falling, including in sectors most affected by pandemic/Brexit/migration”.
As LBC host James O’Brien put it, “I guess there's still a chance that Jacob Rees Mogg, Andrea Leadsom, Andrew Bridgen & Mark Francois had a better grasp of international trade than people who've spent their lives explaining, exploring & engaging in international trade. But I think we can agree the chance is slim”. And then there was Covid-19.
With the Omicron variant driving infection rates higher, and Bozo a prisoner of the so-called Covid Recovery Group of Tory back benchers, named because its activities will set back recovery from Covid for many months, and result in rather more serious illness and death than would have been the case had the Government moved to reduce transmission of the virus over the New Year period, that just makes Bozo’s legacy yet more lousy.
The Government may be whistling sufficiently to keep its collective spirits up. But the reality is that it is gradually imploding, as Brexit is exposed as a con trick by the rich on the less well off, levelling up is seen to be meaningless, and the Tories revealed not to care about keeping the public safe. So, as ever, the losers will be us. And not them.
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